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What if Robert and Ned were more morally grey?


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If Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark were less morally superior, clear-cut heroes and had the more polarizing and unlikable personalities and attitudes of say Borros Baratheon and Creagan Stark, would it change the readers views on Robert’s Rebellion’s or make them more sympathetic to the Targaryen’s if that is even possible?

Edited by The Merling King
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I didn't realize Robert was morally superior, not like Ned or even Jon Arryn was considered at any rate.   I think they represented the future to Westeros, as Rhaegar no doubt did too.  Aerys was a bad king and went off the deep end.   Who would you support in such a case?  The bad king or the children being fostered with a decent Lord Paramount?   That's 3 to 1 alone adding Tywin's notable absence from everything and the pending addition of the central region to the alliance of Stormlands/Vale/North.   The numbers were with the kids and that had to make change attractive to say the Reach or Iron Islands even.  Dorne only sent 10,000 spears to the effort.  Nearly all of Westeros wanted Aerys out, but with Rhaegar gone MIA, the options narrowed considerably.  Had Rhaegar stayed front and center there would have been no need for a rebellion of any sort.  It is unfortunate Rhaegar couldn't be The Prince Who Was Promised choosing instead to be The Prince That Was Promised.   

Cregan Stark was a flat bad ass.  I don't think this was so much a choice for Robert as it was a choice against Aerys.  

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Ned wasn't all that gray a character, but Robert was a drunken, lazy, self-pitying , complacent, apathetic fool. Not at all was Robert a morally superior character. If he had been, maybe Tywin would have been punished for the deaths of Elia and her children, and maybe Gregor and Amory Lorch would have had their heads sent to Dorne. Perhaps Jaime would have been pressured to take the Black, and the likes of Varys, Pycelle and later Littlefinger sent packing. And possibly the realm wouldn't be in massive debt due to the Kings financial idiocy.

Perhaps morally gray Ned would have turned Jon over to Robert. He might not have protested the deaths of the Targaryen babies, or resigned over Dany's planned assasination. Ned might have seen Littlefinger's plans as a fine idea and set about implementing it. But maybe Ned's bannermen wouldn't be conspiring to restore Rickon in Winterfell, or save fArya from Ramsay.

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8 hours ago, The Merling King said:

If Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark were less morally superior, clear-cut heroes and had the more polarizing and unlikable personalities and attitudes of say Borros Baratheon and Creagan Stark, would it change the readers views on Robert’s Rebellion’s or make them more sympathetic to the Targaryen’s if that is even possible?

They are morally grey and not all superior.  I am sympathetic towards the Targaryens.  I would support a Targaryen restoration even if it meant the death of the Starks.  It's not that I like every Targaryen.  I like Daenerys and some other Targaryens.  I do not like the Starks. 

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On 1/9/2022 at 8:39 AM, The Merling King said:

If Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark were less morally superior, clear-cut heroes and had the more polarizing and unlikable personalities and attitudes of say Borros Baratheon and Creagan Stark, would it change the readers views on Robert’s Rebellion’s or make them more sympathetic to the Targaryen’s if that is even possible?

I think that one of the things that we're continuing to learn over the course of this story is that both were morally grey. We met them through the eyes of Ned's children and his adoring wife. The only person who spoke sideways about them in the beginning was Viserys and we knew very early on that his was a very biased perspective. As time has gone on though and the roll of POV's grown we've seen different accounts of both mens' lives and are perhaps getting a truer picture of each.

 None of this matters though. Ned and Robert could have been terrorizing the Vale, raping and murdering for sport a la Ramsey Bolton while hosted by Jon Arryn and that wouldn't have justified the behavior of Aerys II nor offset the decline of the Targaryans that had been ongoing for a hundred odd years. What did the Targs ever do that was deserving of sympathy?

 

Edited by Aejohn the Conqueroo
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15 hours ago, Roswell said:

They are morally grey and not all superior.  I am sympathetic towards the Targaryens.  I would support a Targaryen restoration even if it meant the death of the Starks.  It's not that I like every Targaryen.  I like Daenerys and some other Targaryens.  I do not like the Starks. 

Sometimes this forum just gets so darned erudite.

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If someone says Ned Stark is morally superior, I shake the person's hand. If someone says me Bobby Bary is morally superior, I laugh my ass off. The three persons I can think of that are worse than him (in the present story) are Daario, Cersei and Euron, and that counts as shady AF. 

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Young Robert was basically good, otherwise Ned wouldn't have been his best friend. He liked parties and sex and stupid jokes and being a warrior: so what, he was young. If things had turned out differently, he might have developed towards his strengths, not his weaknesses. As it was, he ended up in a job he couldn't stand and couldn't leave, surrounded by flatterers and fools, and married to Cersei for around twelve years. Must have felt like forever. It's sad really - it feels like going all the way to Winterfell to recruit Ned was his last big effort for salvation. I like him for that.

Edited by Springwatch
forever
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1 minute ago, Springwatch said:

Young Robert was basically good, otherwise Ned wouldn't have been his best friend. He liked parties and sex and stupid jokes and being a warrior: so what, he was young. If things had turned out differently, he might have developed towards his strengths, not his weaknesses. As it was, he ended up in a job he couldn't stand and couldn't leave, surrounded by flatterers and fools, and married to Cersei for around twelve years. It's sad really - it feels like going all the way to Winterfell to recruit Ned was his last big effort for salvation. I like him for that.

he had potential and he wasn't a terrible person like Tywin , Cersei ,etc. he was alright.  but he was hardly close to morally superior:)

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2 minutes ago, Springwatch said:

Young Robert was basically good, otherwise Ned wouldn't have been his best friend. He liked parties and sex and stupid jokes and being a warrior: so what, he was young. If things had turned out differently, he might have developed towards his strengths, not his weaknesses. As it was, he ended up in a job he couldn't stand and couldn't leave, surrounded by flatterers and fools, and married to Cersei for around twelve years. It's sad really - it feels like going all the way to Winterfell to recruit Ned was his last big effort for salvation. I like him for that.

Someone on reddit once said that Robert is basically as bad as Cersei. While I agree that they have plenty of similarities, Robert's ability to not just seek out the council of men who give him hard truths, but to sometimes reign in his impulses or course correct because of these men puts him well ahead of Cersei, who thinks even a shameless Lannister lickspittle like Pycelle is not obsequious enough to tolerate.

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7 minutes ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

Someone on reddit once said that Robert is basically as bad as Cersei. While I agree that they have plenty of similarities, Robert's ability to not just seek out the council of men who give him hard truths, but to sometimes reign in his impulses or course correct because of these men puts him well ahead of Cersei, who thinks even a shameless Lannister lickspittle like Pycelle is not obsequious enough to tolerate.

Robert is at least aware of his own shortcomings, does have some morals and genuinely loves others, and he is nowhere near Cersei's level of arrogance, selfishness, cruelty; pettiness and spite. 

Robert has plenty of flaws but comparing him to Cersei is a strech. 

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I feel that I have to defend Bobby B here. I agree that the guy was an absolute moron that should never have been king.

We need to remember Robert was changed man by agot. The crown changed him.

The Robert from the rebellion seemed to me that he was a decent guy. Because if the Robert that we see was the same one from the eyrie than Robert and Ned would’ve never been best friends.

The drinking and sorrow really fucked him. And its what made him what he is.

And honestly even the Robert we see in agot is morally better than half the characters in this series. But thats mainly because of how dark this world is.

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3 hours ago, The Young Maester said:

We need to remember Robert was changed man by agot. The crown changed him.

But I'm not sure it did, so much. He was already sleeping around before his "one true love" Lyanna. Fighting and fucking seemed his priorities even then. I could easily see him being the same drunken whoremonger even if he married Lyanna(that perfect woman illusion wouldn't have survived, even Ned said that) and stayed ruling the Stormlands.

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4 hours ago, The Young Maester said:

I feel that I have to defend Bobby B here. I agree that the guy was an absolute moron that should never have been king.

We need to remember Robert was changed man by agot. The crown changed him.

The Robert from the rebellion seemed to me that he was a decent guy. Because if the Robert that we see was the same one from the eyrie than Robert and Ned would’ve never been best friends.

The drinking and sorrow really fucked him. And its what made him what he is.

And honestly even the Robert we see in agot is morally better than half the characters in this series. But thats mainly because of how dark this world is.

don't feel like that. not all Robert's trouble's was for Cersei , kingship and loss... I think if he hadn't become king and ended up marrying Lyanna like he planned to , he wouldn't have been as better as you think. sure Lyanna instead of Cersei could be an improvement and he wouldn't have the responsibility of ruling 7 kingdoms (not that he did much!)  but Robert would still be drinking , whoring and hunting . perhaps the biggest difference for Robert would have been the fact that he didn't have Rhaegar to blame for everything wrong in his life! 

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Robert was a bad man who cheated on his wife and roughed her up.  He was not grey.  He was also a big fool.  Eddard is morally grey.  This is a man who didn't give Gared a fair hearing.  He killed his daughter's dog.  And he would have killed Theon without hesitation if the Greyjoys took up arms against Robert again.  I would not hold those buffoons as examples of high moral character. 

 

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It's pretty weird how people assume Robert was changed by the kingship, or he hated kingship. He very much enjoyed all the benefits the kingship brought him, the responsibilities tho? Not so much. But the fact is, these same factors would've been a part of his life either way, wether he is King or Lord of the Stormlands. Not that I think I (or anyone else) would say anything different if I was in his place. 

The changing factor here is the lack of parenting, due to the early death of his parents, which can hafe a major affect on people. Altough, we have to imagine Jon Arryn is responsible for how Robert turned out. He was 'tutoring' him his entire childhood. On the same page, neither Ned (Jon's other 'protigee'), nor Stannis or Renly (his biological brothers) turned out to be anything like Bobby. Robert could be the combination of being left to his own from all sides, with a good chunk of bad personality coming from his own character as well. 

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